What is Organization Development ?

Organization Development is an effort

  1. Planned  
  2. Organization - wide and
  3. Managed from the top, to  
  4. Increase organization effectiveness and health through
  5. Planned interventions in the organization’s “process” Using behavioral- science knowledge.

Beckhard,1969 Organization development (OD) is a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitude, values, and structure of organizations so that they can better adapt to new technologies, markets, and challenges and the dizzying rate of change itself.

(Bennis,1969) OD can be defined as a planned and sustained effort to apply behavioral science for system improvement, using reflexive, self-analytic methods – Schmuck & Miles,1971.

Organization development is a process of planned change - change of an organization’s culture from one which avoids an examination of social process (especially decision-making, planning and communication) to one which institutionalizes this examination.
More recent definitions of organization development are these:

Organizational development is a set of behavioral science- based theories, values, strategies, and techniques aimed at the planned change of the organizational work setting for the purpose of enhancing individual development and improving organizational performance, through the alteration of organizational member’s on-the-job behaviors. Organization development is a planned process of change in an organization’s culture through the utilization of behavioral science technologies, research.


The Basic Approaches to Organization Change : 
1. Structural
2. Technical
3. Behavioral

Developing strategy includes planning activities to resolve difficulties and build on strengths.

  • Technical Approach to Change.
  • Changes in machinery, methods, automation, and job design.
  • Changes help companies become more productive.

Structural Approach To Change : Changes that relate elements of organization to one another

  • Includes removing or adding layers to hierarchy.
  • Downsizing associated with restructuring.
  • Changes can involves decentralization and centralization

Behavioral Approach To Change : Emphasizes better utilization of human resources by improving:

  • Moral.
  • Motivation.
  • Commitment of members

OD traditionally associated with behavioral strategies.

Characteristics of Organization Development : [ Here Organization development is reffered as OD]

  • OD focus on culture and process.
  • Specifically, OD  encourages collaboration between organization leaders and members in managing, culture and processes.
  • Teams of all kinds are particularly important for accomplishing tasks and are targets for OD activities.
  • OD focuses on the human and social side of the organization and in so doing also intervenes in the technological and structural sides.
  • Participation and improvement in problem solving and decision-making by all levels  of the organization are hallmarks of OD.
  • OD focuses on total system change and views organizations as complex social systems.
  • OD practitioners are facilitators, collaborators, and co-learners with the client system.
  • An overarching  goal is to make the client system able to solve it problems on its own by teaching the skills and knowledge of continuous learning through self-analytical methods. OD views organization improvement as an ongoing process in the context of a constantly changing environment.
  • OD relies on an action research model with extensive participation by client system members.
  • OD takes a development views that seeks the betterment of both individuals and the organization. Attempting to create “win-win” solutions is standard practice in OD programs.